Just wanted to let those of you know who read here…Duke died early Saturday morning.  He was born with a breathing condition that eventually led to (we believe) mechanical pneumonia.  We had a vet appointment for him Saturday morning, but he didn’t make it.  Even if we had made it to the vet we don’t think he could have been saved.

Hank is gelded, and we have no plans to allow our three girls to be bred again.  Like dogs, there are too many unwanted llamas out there to be breeding them.  Celia and Lexus were bred when we bought/rescued them.

We thank God that Duke didn’t have to suffer, nor did Lexus’s baby.  It was just a rough experience and a long two weeks trying to care for them and make the right decisions for them.  For those of you who have called and emailed encouraging words, they have been much appreciated.  As we have learned quickly with farm life we are moving on and finding the good and the blessings that come with caring for all of these animals.

We will soon start another fencing project and are currently breeding five separate groups of sheep.  In the spring we will have more Texels, Dorper/Romanov crosses, and Texel/Romanov crosses for sale.  We are also trying to decide how we will deal with a black and white egg thief on our farm.  She lives under the front of our house and left an empty shell outside her entrance giving her away.  We had been getting half the eggs we usually get, but weren’t sure what was happening to them.  Last week we collected 101 eggs and 98 eggs the week before that.  This week we collected 79 eggs.  We keep track on a calendar.  It is a good way for us to see if something is going on that we need to investigate further.

Hope everyone has had a great weekend and a wonderful Sabbath.


Just another dog post….

Are you all sick of seeing these mutts yet????

Koal, Thai, and Ruby

There was a bit of confusion on this one where the camera was…aren’t they funny!

We don’t have kids to snap pictures of when they do cute stuff, so cut us some slack on the dog photos : )

Ash was wandering around the house with her football in her mouth trying to find someone to play with her, so she missed this photo shoot.

Animals, Around the Homestead

County Sheep Tour…

Our county sheep tour was today.  There were four farms toured and lunch served.  Our farm and momand dad’s were chosen as part of the tour.  We learned lots, met lots of wonderful people, and got to visit with lots of people we haven’t seen in awhile.

The beginning of our tour started out with a registerd Hampshire farm.

Their working chute.

3 of their 4 guard dogs…Maremmas

Back to work guarding their Hampshire sheep.

Next was an interesting stop at a farm who no-tills, does windrow feeding, and has a wonderful rotational grazing setup where cattle can graze year around with the special seed mixes this farmer has used.  He has found a way to make baling and hauling in hay unnecessary on his farm.

Waterers used to supply fresh, unfrozen water to his cattle in the winter.

Fiberglass/wood composite post used on his high-tensil fencing.

We broke for lunch before heading to our house and then to mom and dad’s.  Lunch was a wonderful catered lunch that totally hit the spot.

The weather was beautiful which made for the perfect day to be outside.  We learned so much and hope to be a part of these tours in the future.

Have a great day!


Heartbreaking news about our baby llamas…

We have had a really hard week on our little farm.  Lexus had her baby Tuesday while we were away at work.  That evening Randy and I went out in the pasture along with mom and dad to have a closer look and gather her up and relocate mama and baby to a building up near the house.

The baby was having trouble getting to its feet on her own.  We would help her stand, but she couldn’t maintain a standing position on her own.  Her breathing was labored and her mouth was hanging open gasping for breath.

We got them settled in a pen in the shed and headed inside to start researching what was going on with her.  We searched and searched and weren’t really coming up with much.  Randy ran out to finish up chores and take another look at her.  When he came in I was crying over the laptop.  I had found our answer…choanal atresia.

“Choanal atresia is a congenital condition (meaning that the llama is born with it) in which the normal airway (between the nasal and pharyngeal areas) is blocked by bone, membraneous tissue, or a combination of the two. Occasionally, only one passage is blocked (unilateral) or the blockage is not complete. Both of these conditions are referred to as “partial choanal atresia.”

“Normally air is allowed to pass from the nasal passageways to the throat where it proceeds down the trachea to the lungs. With coanal atresia, an embryonic membrane fails to rupture during fetal development creating an obstruction between the nasal cavity and the throat. The obstruction may be only on one side of the nose or on both sides of the nose resulting in either a partial or complete coanal atresia. Since camelids are obligate nasal breathers, many of these crias die soon after birth. Surgical repair may be possible if the abnormality is not severe, but often euthanasia is recommended.”

The following day, Wednesday, Dad took her to our local vet who looked her over and really didn’t know what to think or do for her.  He gave her a shot for swelling and us a bill.  That evening when we got home we suspected she was also blind in both eyes.  Thursday, Dad went down around lunchtime to try and give her some more colostrum.  When he got there he saw another baby llama out in the pasture.  Celia had also had her baby.  The news was bittersweet to Randy and I knowing there was a good possibility we wouldn’t have two little babies chasing each other around the pasture.

That evening after Randy and I got home from work we scooped up Lexus’s baby and headed to another vet in a nearby town 30 minutes away to see if he could help us.  This vet had always been so good to examine our livestock in the past and strive to save them if there was any way at all.

Although he was exhausted from working cattle all day, he did a thorough examination including x-rays.  The three of us looked at the x-rays and saw the blockage in her nasal passage.  Our hearts sunk, the vet included.  Our baby was standing on the welcome mat in the lobby while we looked over the x-rays and discussed our options.  Her face was inches away from the wall, but she didn’t even know it.  She stared straight ahead and gasped for air as we made the hardest decision anyone ever has to make concerning their animals.

The vet asked if we would like to be present.  I said I would rather not.  I had held up really well the entire time…my excuse to Randy was I truly believed I was cried out from the two previous days…I didn’t want to be in there when she took her last breath.  I had gotten up with her every 4 hours and held her while she gasped a big breath before trying to take a bottle as fast as she could and then struggle to catch her breath after she swallowed.  I had given her shots, helped her stand, and constantly looked into her eyes praying for some sort of reaction to show she was looking back.  Even though I tried not to I was attached to that little scraggly girl and couldn’t bring myself to see her be put to sleep.

The vet was wonderful.  He reassured us we were doing the right thing.  He praised us for not making her suffer for our own satisfaction.  When it was all said and done we paid our bill, chatted with him and his wife for nearly an hour, and drove home to do our chores and bring our newest baby in from the pasture.

It was already getting dark.  We laid Lexus’s baby back in the pen with her so she could recognize what had happened and make her healing process easier.  Llamas are almost human when it comes to a mamas bond with her newborn baby.  We hurried through what remained of our chores because it was already getting dark.  There was an opossum in our chicken coop not hurting a thing, but really reaking out the chickens.  I pushed it out the door and locked up the coop for the night.

We grabbed a flashlight and hurried out into the pasture to bring the baby and Celia up to the shed for cover and safety.  Randy got to the baby first and hollered, “he has the same thing.”  I couldn’t believe what I had heard.  Surely I heard him wrong, “what!”  “He has the same thing.”  Before I even got there I could hear him gasping for air.  I proved myself wrong on being all cried out as I scooped him up in my arms and started to cry as I led Celia up to the building.  We were absolutely exhausted.  We got Celia and her baby settled in and went inside for a quick egg sandwich and straight to bed.

I was off the whole next day.  I had to sort and de-worm all our ewes for breeding so I was out in the lots a good portion of the day.  I kept a close eye on the baby.  His eyes were watery like the others, but his
breathing wasn’t quite as labored and he was nursing on his own.  Randy called the vet who said he would work us in on Saturday if we decided to have him looked at…I mean this guy is awesome.

Saturday morning Randy noticed a lot of snot and mucous in the baby’s nose, so I got the little sucker like you use for babies and did what I could for him.  We started him on excenel to try to move any fluid out and started treating his eyes to see if we could get the watering and possible loss of vision corrected.  We called the vet and told him our plans.  He encouraged us to try, but that he would see him whenever if we needed him to.

It is now Monday.  We have seen him nurse.  He follows his mama around and has even kicked up his heels a bit.  His eyes are not as watery and it appears his vision, at least to a certain degree, is there.  We will continue to monitor him closely to see if we notice any changes good or bad.  I intend to schedule a checkup with our vet a week from Friday to see what he thinks and go from there.

It has been an incredibly hard week and weekend.  Owning animals is a joy, but it can also be so heart breaking.  These two llamas were bred when we bought them and we have no intentions of ever breeding llamas on our farm.  We didn’t actually need more llamas on our farm either, but the very thought of having two baby crias, born days apart, running and playing together was an idea we had become fond of the past five months.

I did take pictures of Lexus’s baby afraid of the outcome and not wanting a reminder.  However, I did break down and take a picture of Celia’s baby.

Baby with his mama, Celia

He has a little rust colored patch on his back.  I wanted a cowboy name since he looks like he has a saddle on his back, so we have named him Duke as in “The Duke.”  It is cuter (and easier to call out) than John Wayne and fits him perfectly.  Say a little prayer this little guy makes a full recovery and lives out a full and happy life with us on our farm.

Have a blessed day!

Animals, Around the Homestead

Just a quick update…

Just wanted to post a few pictures and an update on Ruby.

Randy lovin’ on mom and dad’s dog, Paris.

Paris lovin’ being loved on.

Ruby is improving everyday.  Here she has taken over Koal’s pillowtop and blanket.

She barks, she plays with the other dogs, and she eats well….really well.  She has gain one whole pound which is a lot for what was an 8 1/2 lb dog.  She now weighs 9.6 lbs and has had her food cut back a bit.  She still runs from us when we try to pick her up, but she will hopefully come around there too.  We try to take her with us as much as possible, and I think this has been huge in her progress.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Animals, Around the Homestead

Ruby at Home…

We finally have Ruby home and settling in.  She is still pretty timid, but slowly coming around.

Here is Ruby and Randy at the Bentonville Farmer’s Market in front of Walton’s 5 & Dime before leaving Arkansas.  We had just picked Ruby up from the vet and wanted to see if we could find some fruit, pecans, or something fun as a thank you to mom, dad, and Craig for watching our farm while we were away.  We didn’t find any food, but did meet some really nice people.  One young couple we met asked if Ruby was a Brussels Griffon?  Randy said, “she’s a…we found her along the side of the road on our way from Kansas.”  We looked up Brussels Griffon when we got home and sure enough.  She fits that breed description exactly.

She seemed to feel more at ease inside the kennel than out.  Our three other dogs barking didn’t even phase her.  Did she come from a puppy mill?  Large breeder?  I guess we will probably never know.

We haven’t gotten her to eat solid food yet so I have been feeding her lamb milk replacer through a syringe.  She LOVES it.  This was the only way our got our cat, Max, back on solid food after his bout with pancreatitis, so I thought I would try it.

Not sure she has ever been on a leash.  She hates it, so that may take some training to get her to walk on a lead.

Here is the tongue she uses to lap up the milk out of the end of the syringe.  Everyday we are making a bit more progress.  Hope she continues to improve and warm up to us.

We took her up to see Grandma this morning.  She loves little dogs and loved Ruby.  Once she is a little more active and friendly it will be fun for Grandma.  This visit she was rolled up in the towel like a burrito because of all of her incisions and stitches.

I hope to continue to post on her progress here…and hope there is progress to post!

Animals, Around the Homestead

One Hot Summer…

I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  We have had a hot, dry summer and everyone has felt it around our farm.

We have left the dogs inside for days on end because of triple digit weather and even they are getting tired of lounging inside in the a/c.




Even the llamas are feeling the stress of the heat.

Here Lexus is trying to tell us her pool is dry.  It is dry because she has nearly destroyed it laying it, but all she knows is it needs water…now.


We have lost a few chickens due to the heat as well.  They are free range, but for some reason don’t always leave the coop which gets really hot in the afternoon and evening.  Hopefully we have seen the last of this 2011 Summer for everyone’s sake.

Have a wonderful day!

Animals, Around the Homestead


Everyone buys souvenirs on vacations and trips, right?  Everyone has different tastes, things they like, things they collect, and things that pull on their heartstrings.

Well, here is our souvenir from our trip to Arkansas:

Her name is Ruby and she weighs 9 lbs.  She was running along a busy highway in Kansas on our way to Arkansas.  We got turned around and called her over to us.  Surprisingly, she came running to us as fast as her little legs would carry her.  I grabbed her and ran to the edge of the highway, and Randy noticed as we were coming toward him that she was prolapsing.  We tied a bandana around her like a diaper, called mom to start searching for a vet, and called a nearby friend for a vet recommendation

We found a wonderful large animal vet in a little town in southeastern Kansas who stitched her up to temporarily keep her together until we could get her to a vet who could further diagnose her and kennel her for the duration of our trip.  It was getting late in the afternoon and our hotel would not accept pets, so we stopped at the first vet we found who was open.  The vet and her assistant were so nice and willing to help us out.

We knew she was prolapsing, had an ear infection, and was going to have to be vaccinated just by looking at her.  As the tests progressed so did her list of problems.  They are estimating she is 7-10 years old, but did say it is really hard to tell once a dog is passed the age of two.  She needed 3 surgical procedures to correct a hernia, spay her, and correct the problem causing her to prolapse, part of which was the spaying.  She has a bucket of meds to take care of the incredible infection she had growing inside of her.

It was concluded this little girl only had a day or two left before she would have died.  We dropped her off on Thursday and went back to visit her Friday afternoon after her surgeries.  She was already sort of drugged in the picture above from being temporarily stitched up.  When we saw her after her surgeries she was groggy and scared, but still as cute as she can be.

 We absolutely did not need another dog and everytime we find a dog in need we say, “at some point we are going to have to look the other way.”  However, we just can’t keep driving.  We just can’t look the other way and go on about our lives as if we never saw it.  It is just not the way we are built for better or worse.

Tomorrow morning we will pick up our little gremlin-looking dog with a cone on her head and head to Eureka Springs to do some outdoor sight-seeing.  In the meantime we have a shopping trip planned for a little pink collar, a little pink leash, and possibly a little tote to carry her around in so she doesn’t have to walk after everything she has been through.

Some people have shot glasses, refrigerator magnets, or t-shirts…..we have dogs someone decided they didn’t need anymore or were too much trouble.  We love each one we find as much as the last!

Animals, Around the Homestead

Finally Some Cooler Weather…

 We had a few days of cooler weather and used our new grill to cook and spend some time out back with our dogs…and our llamas.

Due to the drought our grass is really short and since Lexus and Celia are pregnant and Sylvia is still growing we decided to let them on the backyard where the bermuda has gone crazy.  They loved it and spent most of the weekend out grazing on it.

The new grill has a temperature setting which allows me to bake on it…which I did.  I baked a couple loaves of banana bread on it this afternoon.

Randy put a homegrown chicken I had marinated in a lime marinade and baked beans on the smoker.  They were awesome.  We couldn’t believe how good everything tasted.  We had cut some mulberry wood that morning to use in the smoker and hopefully this winter in the wood cookstove we have on order.

I think Hank felt a little left out with all the girls on the backyard, so we let him out the gate so he could eat leaves off the elm trees and graze all the grass just outside the lots.  He was pumped.

The break from the heat was nice, but we are gearing up again for another hot streak.  Hope everyone stays cool.


A Fun Surprise…

We have been so tired and so extremely worn out.  When Randy went out to start chores this evening this is what he found:

Three baby Buff/Rhode Island Red crosses.  We took her pile of eggs and put in the separate cage Randy set up for her, and she was able to hatch out one more chick for a total of four.  It added to our chores, but we were so excited.  Our buffs have really struggled this summer in the heat.  The are free-range and can go wherever they please, but are still struggling to find a place cool enough to survive.  If these are hens they will make nice replacements for the ones we have lost.

Then for fun and even more cuteness.  Here are 3 of our 10 kitties.



Our big mama, Roxy, and no she is not expecting and gets offended if you ask!

And not a kitty or a kitty lover, but just as cute as he can be…Koal.